How Are You Doing, RockStar?

So since I’m on this mission to transform my body and shed a ton of weight and all, I decided that I might expand the blogs I follow to include those that resonate with me about the weight release process, besides having my usual favorites about dancing.  I think it is important to surround myself with as much support as I can get and I have been so supported in ways I never would have imagined through my blog.

One blog about this process that really resonated with me is called Unbearable Weight, maybe not partly because the authoress is about as wordy as I am (with my 2000 word posts and all lol).  Today she wrote this awesome post that really inspired me.  And it made me think that even though this blog here is about my dancing life, I can’t really separate that out from the rest of my life, and plus I’ve been letting you all in on my health goals and progress (or lack thereof at times), so I thought that since it has been a full week on my new Clean Eating personalized nutrition plan that you might be wondering how it went. I guess Chelle, my nutritionist was wondering the same thing so even though we are meeting in person tomorrow, she sent me an email asking, “How are you doing, RockStar?”

I’m lazy and don’t want to type it all out again (lol) so here was my reply because it pretty much sums up the week:

Hi Chelle,

I’m doing well.  I feel pretty good about how things went this week. I was adherent to the plan and for my cheat meal all I did was eat what I normally would have for the day but had 2 glasses of wine and made that terra pana chocolate dessert you had on your blog.

The only hiccups this week were that my eyes skipped the page and I ate the afternoon snack and dinner for Thursday on Wednesday so I just ate the snack and dinner for Wednesday on Thursday. I hope that is okay to do as I didn’t know if each day is specially planned or if meals are interchangeable across days (though you did say it was okay to switch the order of meals in a day like if I am working out and don’t want to have dinner beforehand but rather do the evening snack instead.) This would be nice to know because there was one night where I wished I had a different dinner and wanted to switch it out but did not because I wanted to be as close to the plan as possible. Having a plan, however, overall, is really working for me.

The other hiccup wasn’t really anything but simply that because I had done my cheat meal Saturday (arbitrarily because I didn’t have a social event planned that I knew of) I was faced with the situation of Cinco de Mayo. We had no plans but took my niece to Build-a-Bear. On the way home I got a call from my brother and they were going to do margaritas and Mexican food with another family and we were invited. Luckily Ty and I had taken separate cars so I just left when the food arrived – which is probably better even if it had been a cheat day because Mexican food and Margaritas are a train wreck waiting to happen. But still, I never considered handling impromptu opportunities. It would have been much harder if I had been trapped there and had to stay.

The last hiccup (as of the time of writing this email) is that I set my alarm wrong this morning. I just happened to wake up at like 7:40 and I had to be at the gym at 8am to work out with my trainer. There wasn’t time to make my omelet (when I had planned to wake up at 7am and have plenty of time to make it and eat) so I grabbed that NoGii bar and had it on the run for breakfast. I wake up hungry now so wanted to eat and couldn’t eat afterwards since I was heading directly to my dance lesson. I did pack my morning snack and lunch so was good to go for that. After my workout I ate the apple and went to my dance lesson. About 3/4ths the way through, after starting strong, I just lost all energy. Toward the last 20 minutes (it was a double lesson so an hour and a half total) I was feeling really irritated and tired. I ate the cheesestick quickly when I realized how tough everything seemed to be getting and afterwards ate the chicken mini loaf. But I feel like my blood sugar might have gotten low and it was tough – my energy was gone, I felt totally drained and I was really feeling crabby/irritated. What snacks can I eat on days I know I will be pushing it hard, that will fuel me properly? Things like the cheese and chicken mini loaf take a bit longer to hit the bloodstream, I would think, because they are mostly protein and fat. And I still have more dancing to do tonight at 8pm.

The other thing I noticed is just like I struggled accepting that 2000 calories daily wasn’t too much to still lose weight, I’m fearful about the cheat meal. I am so focused on my goals, and want to transform so badly, I am afraid to lose any progress. I think I made a nice choice this week with my cheat meal and enjoyed it because it was planned out and because I wasn’t stuffed or feeling guilty or anything like that. However, this week I have two social occasions to choose from – my mother-in-law’s birthday (she wants to go out to dinner) or dinner with my family for Mother’s day. I can’t do both and am choosing to opt out of dinner Wed. night altogether. It is just too stressful and I feel like it is the most nurturing/supportive choice for me. Luckily my husband understands, and I think Debbie gets it but that she is probably disappointed, and that Ty’s dad will be disapproving. I’d much rather take the opportunity to prepare more meals and maybe get an extra cardio session in at the gym so that is what I’m going to do. Then Sunday since it is at home (not a restaurant) I can enjoy the cheat meal and have more control about what I eat. But navigating no social occasions, impromptu occasions, and too many social occasions is challenging. I know this won’t be like this forever, but right now I feel like I need to do whatever it is I need to do to stay on track.

The day-to-day eating is easy. It is even easier since I work from home. I made sure to take more than one meal with me when I went out to the mall with my friend on Saturday and with my husband and niece on Sunday so I could be sure I could buy myself enough time in case we met for longer than 3 hours – which happened both times. So I feel good about staying on schedule regardless of leaving the house or whatever was going on. I ate my celery sticks and peanut butter walking around Fashion Square lol. But leaving the house does take a little more prep.

I guess the only other thing is that I objectively think I did really well this week. You called me a RockStar and I’ve been honest and didn’t cheat or anything. I logged all my food, did all my prep, and basically did what I was supposed to do on the plan as best I could, eyes skipping the page and my alarm not going off notwithstanding, and even in those situations I think I handled them well. As you saw, I’m even down below 240 pounds where I had been hovering around for like 3 weeks. And yet, still, inside of me, I feel like it is somehow not enough. That I should be doing more. That I could always be doing more…and my mind is running, running, thinking… “maybe more cardio, or more weights, or eating less carbs (yeah right! Look what happened on my lesson today – I need those suckers!), or what is that HIIT thing I keep hearing about….and on and on and on.” I’m not exactly sure what to do with this feeling like I should/could be doing more. I’m hungry for change, can you tell?

Even so, last night was the first night I kind of wished I was not on this plan and felt bummed about what my dinner was going to be but it was a fleeting thought and I stuck to it anyways because it feels so much better to be in integrity than to give in and give up. I’ve made progress this week, which is excellent. I guess I am just very eager for the day when my jeans are falling off because they are too big. I am longing for the day when I am proud of my body. I am longing for the day when it is finally my turn to have the before and after picture. I want to transform my body and be bona fide skinny/thin. I want to see if I can actually do it because I never have felt that way ever in my life. I want to see what is possible. I totally get that it is going to take time – that 8 pounds in a month would be excellent and that with as much as I have to lose that it is going to take a while to see a difference, that big difference I’m looking for. And, well, the change can’t happen quickly enough. I have my next dance competition in 16 days. Every little bit of weight I can get off between now and then will help, and I want to show an even more dramatic change for the next competition in July.

In summary: What worked, what didn’t, what next?

What worked?

Me. I worked the plan. I found a substitute for my morning coffee. I responded to situations as they came up and made good decisions. I planned and prepped and packed. Me subbing fresh veggies for steamed veggies, making the tzatiki to replace the cream cheese. Consistency. Logging my food. My committment.

What didn’t?

My alarm clock lol. Still, I recovered making a good choice for breakfast (I think). My eyeballs getting frisky for the next day on the plan. Getting what felt like hypoglycemia during my double lesson. The feeling that I’m not enough. Cauliflower (lesson learned, though).

What next?

I’m not sure. You are the expert! Continue on the same plan or tweak it?

So there you go! The full update. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow morning.

-Stef

 

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Topical Series: What To Bring When You Are Competing

It’s on my mind.

In a few short weeks I’ll be dancing in a competition, which I haven’t done in 9 months, and my brain is aflurry with thoughts about all the preparations I’ll need to make before I go.  But what preparations do I need to make, you ask?  Besides practicing as much as possible, and getting into as best shape as possible, what else must be done?

First let me clarify: the kind of competition I’m thinking of here is a “full-glitz” one – not the kind you might find at a college with only amateur couples.  Those are absolutely great places to show off all your work, too, it’s just that I do pro-am and I personally haven’t done any competitions that weren’t geared for anything but the most over-the-top costumes, darkest tans, and craziest hair.  I don’t have experience to share around the kind of competition specifically, but I’m sure a lot of what I write will apply to any competition.  However, if any of you readers out there have advice, thoughts, experiences to share, especially about areas I miss or don’t know about, please do share!  Also, this is clearly from a feminine perspective!  I do think the guys have it easier when it comes to prepping for a dance competition – but guys, set me straight if I’m wrong!

So one of the items on my to-do list is to get a full set of pink and white nails put on.  And, they need to be longer than I’d ever seriously wear them in real life.  (You should see the set of talons Inna wears everyday.  She could paddle a boat with those suckers!  And, that gal is glamorous no matter what!)  But seriously, they add something.  Not only do they increase the length of lines you can create through your fingers, but they also draw attention as compared to natural nails.  And for me, they also make me pay more attention to what I am doing with my hands and fingers.  The devil is in the details, as they say, and to exude glamour in every way possible, including nails, helps create a fully polished look.  Plus, I just feel more feminine with a set of nails on.  I feel more girly, and that, of course, translates into how I move and interact with my partner.

The next item I’m debating is the fabled spray tan.  Why the debate?  Well, I don’t show much skin.  I pretty much cover myself completely and wear nylons and fishnets.  If I were showing more of my body, however, for me it would be a no brainer.  I do think the tans create a leaner, more toned appearance.

Okay, what else?  Well, one thing I didn’t really know about before I went to my first “real” competition, was the hair and make-up that is standard.  I did my own make up and hair the first two competitions I went to, and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, I felt a little out of place at the second one with my hair only in a bun because as I walked around I saw all these artistic hair sculptures adorning many of my competitors’ heads.  I had no idea that hair could be so elaborate!  For my third competition I discovered that you can actually hire someone to do your hair and make up for you.

Like I said, this is totally optional.  And for me, I’m more comfortable doing make-up than hair.  If I had to choose one to do myself to save some money, I’d do my own face, but you know what, at the point that you’ve committed to do a competition, it’s kind of a drop in the bucket to pay for this service.  It is a big event and one you want to enjoy.  If it makes it less stressful and more enjoyable for you to have someone pamper you and fix you up, well then, I highly recommend it!

The only issue with having your hair and/or make up done is making an appointment.  My goodness can they start early.  If the competition begins at 7am like some I’ve done, an appointment may need to start as early as 3:30am…remember you are not the only client!  There are other people who will have the same bright idea.  The earlier you can book your appointments before the competition, the better choice you are likely to have in terms of timing.

Okay, I just realized I forgot to mention one really, really big consideration!  The dress(es)!  Well, that’s cause I have one already.  But if you don’t already have your dress, you may need to have one made, purchase one, or rent one.  If you are going to have a dress custom-made, you will need to have started the process with lots of time to spare.  Dressmakers are often busy and there are usually multiple fittings necessary.  A month may not be enough time.  If you purchase a dress off the rack, you will still probably need to alter it, and you will want to have that done by someone who works with ballroom dresses regularly, not just your average tailor.  Finally, if you are renting, you will need to find a store that actually rents dresses (many don’t), and then try one the ones they have available.  In addition, sometimes dresses need to be shipped between locations so waiting to the last-minute for this is also not a good idea.

And don’t forget the jewelry!  You will want to accessorize your glamorous dress to complete the look.  This could come in the form of bedazzled earrings, a necklace, bracelets, or even hair ornaments.  It may take time to find the perfect accent piece.

Alrighty, assuming you have a dress, and you have a plan for your hair and make up, and you’ve got a tan or you are covered, what else do you need to think about for a competition?

I won’t claim to be the be-all-end-all expert on this, but here’s what I pack in my bag on the day of competition.  Again, those of you who have experience, please do share!

In my “gym bag” which I will bring with me to the competition (I’m doing a large number of heats, this may not be necessary for someone only competing in a single scholarship or something) I will have:

Ibuprofen – for aches and pains

Ace bandages – for my ankles which get swollen and sore (and in case of any pulled muscles)

bandaids, neosporin, and bandage tape.  I use the tape over bandaids if I get blisters because the bandaids will rub off and the tape is much more sturdy and will stay in place

Tums and/or Pepcid – for an upset stomach (likely to happen with nerves!)

You may laugh, but Immodium – just in case a nervous stomach turns into runny stools….the show must go on! (And can you tell I’m a pharmacist yet?)

Salted nuts – for electrolyte replacement, good fat, and energy

Gatorade – both the “fully leaded” kind with actual sugar, and the G2, sugar-free

A Gallon of water – dehydration is not your friend

A towel (I sweat A LOT).

Lipstick, mascara, eye pencil, lip liner, hairspray, bobbypins – touch-ups will be necessary

Feminine supplies…just in case

Safety pins – in case of a “wardrobe malfunction”

An extra pair of nylons and fishnets

Scissors – I’ve had the fringe on my dress go crazy and had to chop some errant strands off!

A sewing kit

Energy bars/fruit/quick easy snacks to keep energy up

Camera

Phone

Charger

Dance shoes

Those little clear plastic thingies you can put over smooth shoes to keep them from flying off your feet

A shoe brush (and shoes, of course go without saying.  It’d be interesting to see someone compete barefoot!)

A pen and highlighter – to keep track of when your heats are and which you have completed.  Some people also mark how they place.  You may also meet a friend and want to exchange information.

A Ziploc bag – to keep stickers or tickets or whatever they give you if you place in various heats

An iPod full of my favorite music with sound-cancelling headphones – to pump myself up!

A few bucks and some change for a soda or something from a vending machine if needed

Breath mints

Extra rhinestones and glue – those little gems do fall off!

Many will find this item controversial, but I’ll probably bring a Diet Rockstar (or two) or something similar in case I start to really drag and need a quick pick-me up.  I know these aren’t really that “good” for you but sometimes they are just the ticket.  Again, those who have alternatives that work, please do share.

One item I’d like to find before I go are some bedazzled slippers.  My friend Ceci had a glamorous pair that she wore between long stretches of heats to get her placements and such.  It was much better than staying in heels all day long, and still looked nice…nicer than my ratty Ugs would be!  Trust me, if you are a doing a lot of heats, you will want some shoe alternatives during your down time.

Also, a cover up is a must.  This is an item I haven’t had and always wished I did.  Many people use a silk robe and oftentimes it is embossed with their studio logo.  In any case, covered up you won’t feel like a sparkly freak if you choose to go to the cafe for a quick coffee or something and don’t have time to fully change, plus there’s less chance of damaging your dress if it’s covered.

and finally….

A BIG SMILE!  I’m going to be competing and dancing my heart out!  I’ve prepared for a long time and paid a lot of money.  I’m going to enjoy every single second!  Yay!